Friday, February 12, 2021

Remnant: Building to the buffer

Junior devised a two-phase plan to implement Jarrell’s vision.

The first part involved making Beverly’s job much easier. Incidentally, it made the jobs of everybody else in Elsie’s easier.

Jarrell remembered seeing roller-racks behind the grocery store. It only took a word with the Mayor and him radioing the grocery store and they were Jarrell’s to do with as he wished.

Jarrell dragged them the half mile north to Elsie’s and made some best-guess adjustments to the height of the roller-units.

Then he dragged them in, while wearing his face mask, of course, and set them up. It took a little bit more fiddling to get them right.

Jarrell and his project was of high interest to the six people working at Elsie’s.

Beverly immediately decided she did not like whatever Jarrell was doing and demanded he rip it out.

“Wait and see” was all Jarrell said.

It took more than an hour for Jarrell to get it right, mostly because he was not all that handy with tools. But when he was done, the bakers could trip a lever on the roller-rack and the carton they had been loading with pizza crusts would roll by gravity to the door.

Jarrell also had a return roller. Delivery people returning the cartons would put it on the return rack and the empty rack would roll downhill to the counter where the bakers would move it to the delivery rollers and start filling it.

By Jarrell’s count, it saved about twenty steps and bending over twice for every carton. Junior assured him it would make a huge difference.

The delivery people, being young, thought nothing of loading the empty racks to the high end of the return rollers.

Jarrell didn’t say a word. Junior assured him that it would work better if Beverly figured it out on her own. Then she would “own it” when she explained it to the other workers (not that they needed the explanation).

Jarrell went to work on the outside portion of the project. During his discussion with Junior, Jarrell deduced that the problem was Beverly waiting for three delivery people showing up before starting another bunch of crusts. The delivery people, knowing they would be waiting in the cold were loath to show up. It was like two gentlemen waiting until the other had gone through the door.

Jarrell, in his corporate fast-tracking had been given a crash course in Theory of Constraints. The canned answer was to “build to the buffer”, which is what the roller rack was.

It took Jarrell a day to put up five LED lights and fiddle with the switches. The picture in his head was that every time the bakers sent a carton down the rack they would flip a light on and every time a delivery person pulled a rack off they would turn a light off.

Leslie wasn’t sure that the delivery people would be able to see the lights in the daytime but it was a start. Jarrell hoped that delivery people could find warm places to wait and then when there were cartons of pizza crusts on the roller-rack, they would know to hustle on over to Elsie’s and pick them up.

Beverly threw a fit when Jarrell rolled out the plan.

“I ain’t running for nobody!” she announced emphatically.

Jarrell, surveying her rotundity silently agreed with the impossibility. “Nobody is asking you to run. Just work at your normal speed. You can take a break at your normal times and when there are five cartons on the roller-rack.”

Junior made some conciliatory sounds. “You know, I think it might be worth a try. We might get out of here before dark and that would be a good thing.”

Two of the other workers agreed with Junior.

Beverly wasn’t going to roll over that easily.

“Ain’t gonna happen. You can stuff that idea where the sun don’t shine” Beverly said. Her mind was made up.

Jarrell didn’t argue. “Well, if you are sure...”

“I am” and Beverly stamped her foot for emphasis.

“Ok” Jarrell said. He stepped outside and got his tool box. He had no sooner put a ratchet on one of the bolts holding the roller-rack together when Beverly demanded “And what in the hell do you think you are doing?”

“The Mayor loaned me these racks to run this experiment. I have to return them since we are not running the experiment” Jarrell said as he industriously started disassembling the rack. It looked like it was going to take far less time to take it apart than it took to put together.

“The Mayor said that?” Beverly said.

“Yup” Jarrell said without looking up.

“Well, if it is for the Mayor, I suppose we can try it for a couple of days” Beverly said.

Jarrell looked her in the eye. “Are you sure? It is up to you. I don’t want to step on anybody’s toes.”

“Put those damned bolts back where they were. Ain’t nobody touching my racks” Beverly said.

Score one for Junior.


1 comment:

Readers who are willing to comment make this a better blog. Civil dialog is a valuable thing.